Sweden drops Assange investigation

Sweden drops Assange investigation

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has hailed Sweden's decision to drop a rape investigation against him as an "important victory".

British police said they would arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy on the relatively minor charge of jumping bail, but the more severe threat is a possible sealed USA indictment against him.

Police officers stand outside the Embassy of Ecuador in London to arrest Julian Assange for breaching his bail if he leaves Ecuador, May 19, 2017.

Assange, 45, took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London in 2012 to escape extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sex-crime allegations from two women. But it by no means, erases seven years of detention without charge, seven years without charge while my children grew up without me. But it by no means erases seven years of detention without charge, imprisoned under house arrest and nearly five years here in this embassy without sunlight.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month that "we will seek to put some people in jail" when asked if arresting Assange was a "priority" for Washington. Police say the next day he faces arrest for breaking the conditions of his bail.

United Kingdom police say Assange will still be arrested for "minor offence" if he left Ecuadorian embassy where he is holed up.

The Ecuadorian government is to step up efforts to allow Assange to continue his asylum in its country after Sweden's director of public prosecutions Marianne Ny said she had made a decision to "discontinue" her investigation.

Swedish judges have refused to take into account the opinion of the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which in February 2016 said Assange was effectively "arbitrarily detained" by Sweden and Britain and called for the arrest warrant to be annulled.

However, if Assange were to return to Sweden before the statute of limitations for the suspected offenses expires in August 2020, the investigation could be reopened, she said.

The department said Friday it had no comment on Assange.

The rape allegation against the computer programmer had followed a Wikileaks conference in Stockholm in 2010. The US government has protected the right of journalists to publish secret materials under the US Constitution's First Amendment.

She accused him of having sex with her - as she slept - without using a condom despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected sex.

Samuelson, the lawyer in Sweden, told Swedish Radio he had been in touch with Assange via text message and the Australian had written, "Serious, Oh My God".

Elisabeth Massi Fritz says her client is shocked by the Swedish decision but added that "she can't change her view that Assange has exposed her to a rape".

However, it noted that now that the Swedish authorities had dropped their investigation, Assange was "wanted for a much less serious offence" than before and said the force would "provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence".



Other news